"Balance" is an interesting word. Google defines it as "noun. A state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc. something used to produce equilibrium; counterpoise, mental steadiness or emotional stability; habit of calm behavior, judgment, etc."
As humans, we strive for something but often fall well short of due to the tug of war with our daily lives. However, during the New Year, we put it all aside for get-togethers, gifts, gatherings, carols, and cocoa. All which for many brings the exact reset and fresh perspective needed heading into the new year and some ever so coveted balance. However, for others, it is quite the opposite and only compounds the lack of balance in their already busy lives.
Expectations are the root cause of so much pain, suffering, and demise we have as humans. When we expect or assume that things are going to be a certain way, we set ourselves up for disappointment. We cannot control what takes place, we can only control the way we react, therefore expecting a particular outcome is wasteful in terms of our energy. It should be noted that expectations and standards are completely different, however. We can uphold and standard which sets the precedence for how we believe something should be done or what the outcome should be, but we cannot always expect it will turn out that way.
In terms of the New Year, people often create a lot of stress because they expect certain events to happen. To try and fulfill these expectations, people will often fall prey to the following holiday traps:
- Setting unrealistic goals
- Spending too much money or money that they don't have
- Stretching themselves too thin with their time
- Attempting to make everybody happy but forget about themselves
How To Find Balance
Recognizing the need for balance and taking actionable steps to achieve are two entirely different tasks in terms of their difficulty. You can tell yourself that you will be balanced this New Year until you are blue in the face, but it will not happen until you take action. Give these few things a try and you will likely find a better balance:
- Focus on being more present (no pun intended) during the holiday gatherings and time you spend with others. This means yes, put the phone down, stop posting every gift you get on Instagram, and just be. We truly live too much of our lives through a phone camera lens these days and not enough in reality.
- Write down what you're grateful for and even better make it a family/friend activity. If you and your loved ones can all sit down and share what you are truly grateful for I promise it will shift your perspective from a stressful state to realizing how fortunate we all are.
- Leave work behind and be a kid again. I'm not saying you have to act childish or do silly things, but what I am saying is putting yourself both mentally and physically as far away from work as possible. I understand this is not achievable for some, aka health care workers and first responder (we really appreciate you) but go out and do something fun that you may never do otherwise. Take your kids sledding, go ice skating with your significant other, watch Christmas movies and drink hot chocolate (maybe with some extra adult beverage additives), literally anything that brings you joy.
Don't be left soured or depressed by the holiday season because you let the unnecessary stress of it all weigh you down this year. Give yourself an honest look in the mirror and ask yourself if you're taking a healthy balanced approach to not only the holidays but your life in general. Remember, this life is short, and we all deserve to have some fun along the way.